The domino effect begins: Kohli as US co-hosts T20 World Cup

Indian team needs to prepare for life after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

The 2024 T20 World Cup has officially arrived in the United States, but the excitement of playing the sport in a country like India where it has yet to gain mass popularity is a challenge in itself.

Hosting T20 cricket's biggest spectacle in the United States will be key to generating greater awareness of the sport in a country where basketball and baseball are enjoyed by a much wider audience.

With cricket also being included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, cricketing superstars like Virat Kohli will play a major role in promoting the game in the U.S. With that in mind, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has roped in former stars like Yuvraj Singh and Shahid Afridi as brand ambassadors in an attempt to reach a wider audience.

Talking about playing in the US, India batting maestro Kohli said he never thought he would end up playing in the US and praised the country for embracing the change and being one of the first to do so.

“I honestly never thought cricket would be played in the US in any capacity, but now it is a reality. This speaks volumes about cricket's growing influence on the world. The US will be happy to embrace change through the World Cup and will probably be the first country on a global scale to embrace it,” Kohli said in a video message.

The former India captain, who will be competing in the T20 World Cup, said hosting the T20 World Cup in the US will be the start of a domino effect.

“I think it's a great start, an ideal start and it's going to have a big impact and create something of a domino effect and I hope it continues like this for a long time,” the 35-year-old added.

Speaking further about the rise of cricket in America, Kohli said that with franchise league tournament MLC already underway, cricket has huge potential to grow in America.

“We have enough talent in our region to keep cricket alive in the US and to give other regions more exposure to what it feels like to play and watch cricket. I think there is a lot of potential for cricket, including the MLC. We already have franchise cricket, so I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Captains light up the iconic Rockefeller Center building

The final 24 hours of the opening match in Texas saw cricket reach new audiences across America like never before, as the US prepared to co-host an ICC World Cup tournament for the first time.

The centrepiece of the excitement was a light projection show that projected all 20 ICC Men's T20 World Cup captains, the biggest ever, onto the Rockefeller Centre building in New York City. All the captains from all four groups were projected onto the facade of 30 Rockefeller, high above Manhattan's busy streets.

Ahead of the NBA Finals series, Bangladesh and India captains Rohit Sharma and Najmul Shanto were given the opportunity to receive the prestigious Larry O'Brien Trophy as part of their association with the league. The captains also toured the 34,000-seat Nassau County International Stadium for the first time ahead of today's pre-season match at the venue.

To help wake up Americans to cricket, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 ambassador Yuvraj Singh appeared on “Good Morning America” ​​and invited new fans to watch the world's best cricketers play in the United States.

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